Thriving after Bariatric Surgery
Some people may still struggle with their weight after surgery. That may come as a surprise for those just learning about bariatric surgery, but it’s important for anyone considering a weight loss procedure to understand that the surgery is a tool, not a quick fix. A very powerful tool, mind you, but not a guarantee. That said, as long as you have the will, there is a way to long-term weight loss.
The key to success is to enter into the process prepared, with all the knowledge you need. More specifically, if you are aware of some of the common challenges many weight loss patients face, you greatly increase the probability that you will succeed. Let’s take a look at them:
- Poor eating habits. Your digestive system may be transformed by your bariatric procedure, but your mental makeup may not be. As the saying goes, old habits die hard. That’s why it’s so important that you address the reasons you eat poorly. This can be done through group meetings with fellow weight loss surgery patients or one-on-one consultations with nutritional and mental health professionals.
- Not sticking to follow-up appointments. As we mentioned, long-term success depends on the effort you put into it. Your doctor will set you up on a follow-up schedule, including check-ins with your doctor, but also the aforementioned group meetings and nutritional and psychological support. If you happen to be struggling, you might be tempted to cancel these appointments if you are feeling guilty or insecure about it. Do whatever you can to break through those mental barriers.
- Letting early success set you up for failure. That may sound a little odd, maybe even counterintuitive. But it’s common for people to become complacent in the early stages of post-bariatric surgery life because weight loss often comes swiftly. It may lead to a feeling that this stuff is easy, but it won’t always be. So be prepared to put in the effort when the weight doesn’t come off so easily and when you are at your goal weight maintenance.
What you need to remember is that these are common challenges. So, don’t beat yourself up when you are facing them. Just know that you aren’t alone.
Looking for support during any phase of your bariatric journey? Feel free to contact Dr. Yusuf Palkhi for more information on how he can help you
Weight Loss Surgery For Your Health
Weight loss surgery is an option some may consider to manage diabetes and decrease the number of medications needed to control blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure. However, there are many aspects to consider, as put by Dr. Yusuf Palkhi, so it’s important to be educated about the risks, benefits, commitments, and changes to your lifestyle. To learn more, attend education seminars, speak with your physician and surgeon, and talk to a registered dietitian/certified diabetes educator about how surgery may impact your overall health and nutrition status.
The following are some important considerations to maintain nutritional health and reduce the risk of both short and long term complications after surgery:
Start meals with protein first – It is important to start with high-quality protein so that you feel full longer. This helps prevent muscle loss. Protein drinks are essential postoperatively. Protein powders made from whey protein isolate are recommended. High-quality proteins include lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, and yogurt.
After surgery, do not drink with meals – You will only be able to tolerate a small volume of food at a time, so waiting 30 minutes after a meal postoperatively will be important.
Drink plenty of water between meals – Water will help you stay hydrated and helps prevent constipation.
Don’t drink your calories in soda and alcohol – This will add unwanted calories, which can slow or defeat your weight loss goals. Alcohol can be very irritating to your gastrointestinal tract and is much more potent after surgery, also interfering with nutrient intake and absorption.
Limit or avoid simple sugar and carbohydrate – White bread may ball and stick in your small stomach pouch. Empty calories such as ice cream and candy can slow your weight loss and possibly cause unpleasant side effects.
Eat slowly and chew your food well – If you eat too fast you may miss your signal that lets you know you are full, which can lead to eating too much with potential for vomiting. Chewing your food thoroughly can prevent large pieces of food from becoming stuck. Practice chewing very thoroughly well before surgery. This is a very important lifelong habit.
Limit fatty red meat – High-fat cuts of red meat have more calories and fat which can slow your weight loss goals. Red meat does have important nutrients such as iron and protein, so use small amounts and chew very thoroughly.
Avoid skipping meals – Skipping meals interferes with important nutrition intake and increases the loss of muscle tissue important for strength and overall health.
Take ALL prescribed vitamin/mineral supplements daily and do not discontinue unless advised by the physician– Long-term and permanent health damage can occur because of nutrition deficiencies. Be sure to inform and remind your primary care physicians and specialists if you have weight loss surgery so they are aware of the possible medication and other related health issues and order routine labs and screenings important after weight loss surgery.
Continue blood sugar monitoring– Diabetes may change significantly after weight loss surgery, however, everyone is different, and much depends on how long one has had diabetes, why they have diabetes, and what type of surgery has been performed as well as medications that have been used for blood sugar management. Elevated blood sugar can occur after surgery for many reasons, so discuss blood sugar monitoring details with your physician and diabetes educator.
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